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The pendulum swung, back and forth, back and forth, and it was driving her up a wall. Another damned test, she fumed, her anger only tempered by the fact that she knew he was watching. He had to be.

The door to his office opened and Jadzia poked her head in. The Trill flashed her a smirk - one which she didn't return - before stepping aside to let him in; she and Phillip shared a look before he stepped inside the room, the door closing behind him.

"Persis." He sat down behind his desk, his hands weaving together contemplatively. "I suppose you heard."

Heard?! She restrained herself, allowing no part of her body to move: it would be too easy to let herself go here. To express fully her rage and contempt at it all. "I don't need another. I can do it myself."

Phillip's eyes narrowed on her and she could hear his pulse pick up. It was a familiar rhythm, one that signified annoyance. Good, let him be annoyed. "It's not a request," he stated factually, his tone even. "You knew it was going to happen."

Her hands clenched into fists. "I operate better alone. No one works well with me and I work well with no one. Those are facts born of experience."

"A year's worth of experience," he pointed out. "You've been with us only for a short time." His eyes darted to a corner of the room before meeting back with her. "I know it hasn't been easy."

She stared at him. "Easy?" She could hear her own pulse in her ears, her heart thudding in her chest as her mind recalled - with perfect clarity - how long this year had been. "I'm the last of my kind ... of everything and everyone I cared for." She stood from the chair, her entire body one muscle, tensed and ready to strike. "You did it to me."

He tilted his head up to look at her. "You agreed. Like everyone else here, you were given a choice. You chose to survive."

She let out a disgusted snort. "It's what I'm bred for."

"It's what Augments were bred for, yes." He leaned back in his chair, eyes playing across her. "I realize it's been a hard. I don't know what it's like to be you or feel what you feel."

She turned her ahead away, refusing to look at him. Refusing to listen to him and his words. His words were snakes and they slithered into her mind, weakening her. Her weakness had killed her before.

"Give him a chance," he continued.

"It's not fair. You offered me a choice between death and this." She faced him, her mouth twisted into a scowl. "Who would choose death?"

He smirked at her. "Life's not fair. Neither am I."

She glared at him. "I don't need him." She took the pendulum and, with one easy motion, crushed it into sliver of metal. "I'm stronger on my own."

And she left.

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